Mind Body Connection
It's not a secret anymore…that Pilates may just be the perfect exercise form. Perfect because it is internationally recognized as a fitness and restorative exercise program that focuses on building strength and flexibility into your body's inner most & deepest layers of muscle, and as a result, every layer above gets stronger around those muscles. Pilates develops long, strong and lean muscle tone, reduces stress, increases balance & circulation, and as a therapy tool, it works to relieve upper and lower back pain, sciatica, scoliosis, osteoarthritis, painful knees, stiff hip joints, and much more.
No matter what shape you are in...you can do Pilates now - whether you are 18 or 81! If your goals are to get in shape, tone, strengthen, lose weight, relieve aches and pains, or reduce stress, diane g. will design a personalized program that will not only fit your needs, conditions, physical abilities - as well as your budget - it will also exceed your expectations.
Here are some of the things clients experience with this powerful and intelligent mind-body technique:
Strong, sleek and toned muscles that give you "functional" strength - strength we use in activities of daily living, as well as the sports we love to play.
Increased flexibility, correct body alignment, and strengthened joints and muscles – all of which contributes to being less prone to injury.
Flat abdominals, slender thighs and a strong back.
Increased range of motion.
Optimal core control – which in turn enables movement control in all areas.
Back pain relief – through a combination of flexibility and core strength
Calm focus and stress relief
Challenging and effective yet low impact and safe for joints.
MY PILATES STORY: HOW PILATES GAVE ME MY KNEES BACK
My Pilates experience started 8 years ago when both knee and spine surgeons prescribed major surgery to fix my severe neck and knee pain, and I said, "No thanks. I'll take exercise and Physical Therapy instead…And, by the way Doctor, make mine Pilates please."
After 10 sessions I felt a tremendous change in my body that no other exercise had provided. My progress was amazing as I continued the practice and soon thereafter I no longer had the pain, numbness, or tingling on my right side & I was able to climb stairs and get up and down from chairs without a hitch. I knew at this point how Pilates had changed my life and absolutely fell in love with it.
HOW PILATES MAY HELP OSTEOARTHRITIS OF THE KNEES
What is Osteoarthritis (OA) of the Knee?
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, affecting millions of people around the world. Osteoarthritis occurs when the protective cartilage on the ends of your bones wears down over time. No cure exists.
While osteoarthritis can damage any joint in your body including hands, neck, lower back, knees and hips, Osteoarthritis of the Knees is one of the most common forms of osteoarthritis, affecting millions of people.
In the knee, the structures most prone to wear are the joint cartilages of the femur and patella bones and the shock absorbing medial and lateral menisci. The degradation of joint tissues leads to deformities in the joint that cause things like clicking, grinding, and joint locking. These changes in the joint will eventually lead to pain and dysfunction.
Move it or Lose It
Years ago, arthritis was treated with rest and immobilization. Scientists have since learned that locking up the joints actually makes them worse. New research published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that exercise and physical therapy are just as effective as surgery for relief from chronic knee pain related to arthritis. Keeping the knees moving, and the muscles around the joints strong contributes greatly to protecting the joints and staving off additional damage caused by arthritis.
But a lot of clients with arthritis are reluctant to engage in physical activity because of pain or fear of pain, fear of worsening symptoms or damaging joints. The problem is that rest and lack of exercise or activity may lead to muscular atrophy and a decrease in joint mobility, which is precisely why exercise is now recommended.
Clients need to be educated that most chronic OA knee pain is avoidable. Learning to strengthen and stretch key muscles that support the knees can increase mobility and ultimately prolong knee health.
To help understand how a Pilates exercise and rehab program will optimize knee function Pilates can help OA knees, it is important to understand the way knees work.
The Knee Joint
The knee is largest and most complicated joint in the entire body. It actually has two joints: The big hinge joint that is like a giant knuckle is called the tibia femoral joint; the other knee joint is the patella femoral joint. The knee’s primary action or movement is flexion and extension in the Saggital plane of movement. In full extension, the knee is locked in and very stable, because it rotates into itself medially and “screws home”. But it is also very vulnerable. When you flex your knee, things loosen up. Because of the way it is designed, the knee joint lacks what is called intrinsic stability, and therefore its stability and mobility rely on the ligaments and muscles which surround it for support. An imbalance in the ligament and/or muscle strength will affect the function of the knee.
Ligaments & Muscles Surrounding the Knee
The ligaments provide anterior and posterior stability. They become vulnerable when the knee is twisted or hit from an angle. The muscles around the knee create movement and support the joint. The muscles that support the knee are the Quadriceps, Hamstrings, Hip abductors, adductors and external rotators and the lower leg muscles. When all these muscles work in perfect harmony, our knees will keep us going for a lifetime without any problems.
How Pilates May Help Osteoarthritis
Pilates, because of its focus on postural alignment, form, balance, precision, and control, its practice helps increase flexibility, maintain joint movement and build supporting muscle strength. As a result, Pilates is one of the best exercise forms slowing down the progression of the OA in the knees and reducing pain because of its principals including:
Pilates makes the most out of mobility without increasing pain or risking injury.
It’s gentle, doesn’t stress your joints or add burden to ligaments and cartilage that surround the joints.
Mental focus is used to perfect movements and muscle control.
Awareness of proper spine position is vital while exercising.
Development of deep muscles of the back and abdomen supports proper posture. Subtle improvements in posture may result in fewer aches and pains, too, up and down the kinetic chain.
Breathing techniques are used to promote mental focusing and centering.
Strengthening and lengthening increases flexibility in the muscles.
Stretching is thought to help with blood flow and the delivery of nutrients to muscles and tendons. Better circulation may also relieve aches and stiffness.
Focus on balance helps lessens risks of falling.
PILATES & KNEE INJURIES by Dane Burke, PT
Pilates and Knee Injuries (excerpt)
By Dane Burke, PT
As seen in the Winter 2009 Balanced Body Pilates COREterly
Knee injuries are among the most common orthopedic injuries. Causes associated with injuries of the knee can range from direct trauma with instant damage; to overuse that can take a long time to degrade the tissue in and around the joint. Another, somewhat less obvious cause of knee injuries is misalignment of joints above and below the knee. Paired with repetitive movements and activities like walking, running, or work-related tasks, these misalignments can lead to accelerated wearing of joint surfaces. In the knee, the structures most prone to wear are the articular cartilages of the femur and patella and the shock absorbing medial and lateral menisci. The degradation of joint tissues leads to intra-articular deformities that cause things like clicking, grinding, and joint locking. Gone unchecked, these changes in the joint will eventually lead to pain and dysfunction.
Movements in the Pilates repertoire done on the equipment are very useful in the course of rehabilitation for the knee in terms of both assessment, as well as treatment of an injury. With assessment, the movements can be used to get an overall idea of how the joint moves and what the preference for movement is. In terms of treatment, the movements can be used to treat the injury on a more local arthrokinematic level by addressing the way the joint moves within the joint capsule. Elements such as roll and glide can be addressed in a supported environment as with footwork supine on the Reformer. Also, in this non-destructive environment more efficient muscle activation can be re-established. With movement and both tactile and verbal cueing through the range of motion, correct retraining of involved muscles can easily be achieved. As the individual gains increased confidence and control, the movements can be progressed to full weight bearing with deceased assistance from the springs. Movements such as standing leg pump without support of the hands, forward lunge on the Chair, side splits and front splits on the Reformer, and assisted squats with leg springs on the Trapeze Table; can all be used to challenge the recreated control at the knee joint. The course of rehab and progression through these exercises depends on different factors. The tissue that is injured and the severity, the length of time that the injury has been present and what kinds of compensatory mechanisms the body has adopted all play a role in the degree and how quickly an individual will be able to recover function.
These movements also afford the opportunity to address one of the subtle causes of knee injury mentioned earlier. The knee joint’s primary plane of movement is in the sagittal plane, which means that the joint is most comfortable with flexion and extension. Therefore, when we talk about turning the knee in and out or medial and lateral rotation of the knee, in most cases we actually are referring to rotation at the hip joint. If awareness and control is not cultivated at the hip as well the knee then, combined with a fixed foot in weight bearing activity, there is potential for the knee to be twisted out of alignment regardless of how strong the muscles around the knee are. Cueing to maintain control and alignment at the hip joint will ensure that the knee is positioned correctly between the hip and the foot preventing any unwanted torsion at the knee joint during loaded knee flexion. The outcomes of treatment are usually good because the Pilates repertoire allows focus on the specific issues relating to the injury. While treating and controlling these issues may help reduce destructive forces and allow tissues to heal, it may not reverse all structural changes that have occurred.
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